First-year Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti told the Register-Guard men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent is safe at least until the end of the season.
Said Bellotti: “I am one who will probably take the longer road because it’s my first time doing this. What you usually hear people in my position say is ‘we’ll evaluate it at the end of the season,’ and I think that’s wise advice and I should adhere to that.”
Still, that’s not a strong endorsement for Kent, Oregon’s all-time winningest coach. The Ducks were 8-23 last season. This season, they’re 10-9 and 2-5 in Pac-10.
— Oregon State’s troubles revolve around point-center Roeland Schaftenaar. He’s averaged 16.5 points in OSU’s Pacific 10 Conference wins (Oregon and Arizona) and just 7.2 points in the five losses.
— Collegehoopsnet.com ranks the top 25 freshman in the nation. Arizona’s Derrick Williams checks in at No. 8 and Washington State’s Reggie Moore is No. 11.
— Betus.com takes a different look at the Pac-10 with its conference power rankings. Here’s a hint, Oregon State is No. 1 and UW is last.
LAST SATURDAY’S PICKS:
— No one was perfect and like so many posters, I went 4-1. Dang Sun Devils.
Still, the big winner was husky87 who came the closest in predicting the UW-USC score guessing 79-62. USC won 87-61. Contact me privately via e-mail to claim your prize.
Same rules for tonight. Predict the correct winner and come closest to the score, win a hot dog and soft drink. Easy, right? We’ll see.
THE UW-SU WINNER IS …
The Huskies, 77-62.
This will be Washington’s third game in six days so tired legs could be a factor. Isaiah Thomas looked gassed in Saturday’s 87-61 defeat at USC. He’s had a string of tough defensive assignments, which may have contributed to his 1-for-5 shooting in the first half.
Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to bounce back in a major way tonight. Blame Redhawks coach Cameron Dollar. The former UW assistant adds spice to this renewed cross-town rival. The Huskies may have overlooked SU if not for Dollar. But many of the players were recruited by Dollar and they’re still very close to him, which provides extra incentive to play well.
A year ago, the Huskies harassed Seattle U.’s guards, forced 21 turnovers and made it difficult for them to begin their offense. Expect the Redhawks to remedy that problem.
SU star forward Charles Garcia, the former UW signee, could be the X-factor. He can be a matchup nightmare. Sometimes he draws a ton of fouls and sometimes he hardly plays because of foul problems.
Look for UW to rip a page from Oakland’s playbook and defend Garcia with a smaller player and and provide help with a shot-blocking big man. Garcia has been shutdown in the past against this type of defensive look.
And the Redhawks may do the same thing with Quincy Pondexter, who struggled against USC when he had to deal with an athletic defender who got help from taller shot blockers.
The difference just might be Hec Ed. Last week Cal coach Mike Montgomery noted the Huskies don’t play as well defensively on the road because officials don’t allow them to be as hands on as they are at home. Washington State coach Ken Bone said the same thing today.
Hec Ed has proven to be a 10-point bonus for the Huskies this season.
Any team that beats Oregon by 51 points at home is dangerous, but Washington has superior depth and talent and should wear down the smaller Redhawks.